Trust is perhaps one of the most important elements of a marriage. What happens when that trust is broken by one or even both of the people in a marriage? A marriage may implode, and unfortunately, may end up in divorce. Other times, a trust may not be broken, but a couple has grown apart over the years. How can you get past the issues that caused the pain or the distancing in the first place?
Regardless of your particular circumstances, this advice and list of suggestions can help you to rebuild and repair your marriage.
- Forgive. In order to rebuild your marriage, you must forgive your spouse for whatever it is that happened. It doesn't mean you have to forget what he or she did, but you honestly and wholeheartedly need to forgive. If you can't forgive your spouse for what you believe he or she did or said, then you need to ask yourself why. What is it that is stopping you from forgiving him? Holding onto these issues will most likely continue to create marriage problems. If you feel you can't forgive him, it is unlikely you will regain that trust that is so important for a successful relationship.
- Stop the behavior. Let's be frank. If you are trying to rebuild your marriage due to a trust issue, then the person who broke the trust in the relationship needs to stop whatever he or she was doing that broke that trust to begin with. After all, how can a marriage be rebuilt if the issue that was causing the problem still exists in the marriage? It needs to stop in order to rebuild. Saving a marriage hinges on this behavior stopping and never starting up again.
- Communication is key. To rebuild a marriage, you must communicate! Talk openly to your spouse and tell him or her your feelings. Don't keep how you feel inside or bottle up your feelings. Identify what the problem is and talk about it. Your spouse should show a sincere interest in rebuilding the relationship and should take into account everything you feel and think. One of the top signs of a healthy marriage is communication. This is a skill you will need throughout your marriage to prevent the tough times from turning into more serious relationship issues.
The best way to learn to communicate with your spouse while rebuilding your marriage is to seek counseling. Never be ashamed to seek help when rebuilding your marriage. A counselor can help you both to validate your feelings and learn the best way to talk to each other. Believe it or not, there are some techniques--that apply especially well under stressful circumstances--to enable you to keep a dialogue going. A marriage counselor may also be able to offer you input on what is missing in your marriage and give you tips on how to rebuild intimacy and trust again. In some situations your only hope of saving your marriage may be to get professional help.
- Spend time together. Regardless of why you have the need to rebuild your marriage, a great way to do it is to spend time together. To begin with, try implementing a date night once a week. If once a week is not possible, then work hard to make it happen bimonthly. Talk to your spouse, think back to when you were first dating, try to remember the things you once loved to do together. Take those ideas and use them for your date nights. Go to places you have never gone or places that you once enjoyed before other things got in the way. Bring back that old feeling you once had for each other. Hold hands, run in the rain, stay up late at night talking, do whatever you used to do that at one time left butterflies in your stomach. Date nights and time together are wonderful ways to help repair a broken marriage.
And if romance is out of the question for you at this point, then find activities that you can both enjoy without running head on into your issues. The idea here is to spend some time together that is non-confrontational and maybe even fun. This means that if there was an infidelity, whatever you do, don't go see a movie that includes an infidelity. You need to build on what is still good and uncomplicated between you. If that means that all you can do is thumb through a design magazine together, so be it. Find ways to spend time together and enjoy it, whatever that means to you.
- Give it time. Regardless of what has happened in your marriage that has caused it to need to be rebuilt, it is important to know that fixing a marriage takes time. Please don't expect it to happen overnight, or even in a month. It may take a year or even longer to rebuild your marriage. If you truly are committed to rebuilding your marriage, keep this in mind. Don't give up if it seems to be taking longer than anticipated. Rome wasn't built in a day--your marriage can't be rebuilt in one either. It is going to take some time!
- Don't compare yourselves to the Joneses. You know the ones--the beautiful people with the two children, the Volvo station wagon and the newly remodeled house, who still seem to find time to romance one another. Remember that every couple has its issues. Never compare your situation to anyone else's, in your own head and certainly not out loud to your spouse. You have stumbled across your particular issues for a reason--because you need to work through them--so don't romanticize other people's circumstances. You really have no idea what goes on at the Joneses. Focus on your own situation, one day at a time.
Now you know how to save a marriage. The rest is up to you. Although this work is certainly not easy, it will prove to be worth it in the end. You will either rebuild your marriage or learn why it cannot be fixed, and you will learn an enormous amount about yourself and your spouse in the process. Should you be able to repair your marriage, you will have become closer with your spouse, with improved communication skills and intimacy, and your marriage will reap the benefits of all of your hard work.